Salt River Project has initiated a program to support the installation and use of battery storage systems for its residential customers. The Battery Storage Incentive Program will provide up to $1,800 ($150 per DC-kWh) for customers who purchase and install qualifying lithium ion battery technologies. The program will be available for up to 4,500 SRP residential electric customers on a first-come, first-served basis during a 36-month period, beginning May 1, 2018.
“While we continue to add new, renewable energy resources, SRP is also conducting research to determine how increasing amounts of renewable energy will impact our electrical system,” said Scott Scharli, SRP’s manager of residential and commercial solar. “The battery storage program will give us an opportunity to collect data and study how battery storage impacts customer energy use and the SRP grid.”
A battery storage system integrates into a home’s electrical system and allows for the storage and use of electrical energy, measured in kilowatt hours (kWh). The stored energy can come from Distributed Energy Resources (DER) such as solar panels or energy from the grid and can be used later.
“Battery systems differ in how they can be used. Some battery systems can be configured to enable them to be discharged at certain times of the day when energy costs more. With the right application, batteries can help smooth demand spikes, reduce the burden on the grid and lower a customer’s demand costs. Other systems can be configured to provide backup power during an outage. For example, to supply a separate electrical panel that only serves important devices such as air conditioning units, refrigerators or medical equipment,” Scharli said.
According to Scharli, there can be a misalignment between when a residential solar system generates most of its energy versus when the typical residential customer experiences their peak demand for energy. Therefore, some of the solar generation may not be utilized for consumption at the residence and it is sent to the electrical grid. Effective battery systems allow unused solar energy generated during the day to be stored for use throughout the evening and night and could enable homeowners to consume more of their rooftop solar system’s generation.
“If we can help our customers reduce their demand from the grid, SRP may be able to incrementally decrease the amount of assets needed in the future to serve our customers’ electrical load,” Scharli said. “Among other potential areas, SRP intends to study how customers use battery systems and how these systems perform in our desert environment.”
SRP is a community-based, not-for-profit public power utility and the largest provider of electricity in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving more than 1 million customers. SRP also is the metropolitan area’s largest supplier of water, delivering about 800,000 acre-feet annually to municipal, urban and agricultural water users.